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Monday, April 26, 2010

Favorite Cookbooks: The Classic Italian Cookbook

We have an embarrassing number of cookbooks, on everything from Burmese to cowboy food, but there are only a few we couldn't live without, and they're easy to pick out from the crowd. Broken-spined, covered with stains and greasy fingerprints, they open automatically to our favorite recipes. Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook is one of these. 

Published in 1973, this book lovingly explains Italian food from antipasti through dessert. The Italian-born Hazan (whose American husband, Victor, is generally thought to have written the text) emphasizes fresh ingredients and simple preparation. Her forthright recipes are fuss-free and invariably delicious. 

Our favorites are her Minestrone and her Fettuccine with Gorgonzola Sauce, but she's equally wonderful on vegetables, meat dishes, and basic sauces, including this one, for the Simplest Tomato Sauce Ever

Note: We've gotten reports that the link to the fettuccine recipe link is broken. Here's the original post: 

Fettuccine with Blue Cheese Sauce

At Eat Well, Eat Cheap, we aim to offer recipes that combine deliciousness, frugality, and healthiness. This one, for fettucine bathed in creamy blue cheese sauce, is spectacularly delicious and pleasingly frugal, but—we'll admit it—it falls considerably short in the health department. But it's so delicious and easy, and makes such splendid use of leftovers, that we're willing to cut it some slack. We deal with the guilt of eating it by eating it only once or twice a year.

After the holidays, we found ourselves with dribs and drabs of several great cheeses, including a French blue and an American blue that were rapidly turning the corner from interesting pungency to hair-raising rancidity. We did not want them to go to waste, and remembered one of our favorite recipes from Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook, for Fettucine Gorgonzola.

Here's our adaptation:

Fettuccine with Blue Cheese Sauce

1 pound fettuccine
1/2 cup blue cheese (Gorgonzola, Stilton, Roquefort, Danish are all good, as are any combinations of them)
1/2 cup light cream
2 T. butter
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup grated parmesan

1. Add fettuccine to a big pot of rapidly boiling water. Stir to separate the strands, which like to clot together.

2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the cheese, cream, butter, and salt in a wide saucepan that's big enough to hold the finished pasta. Mash the cheese into the hot butter and cream. Keep warm while the pasta finishes cooking.

3. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, quickly mix, and add a couple of tablespoons of the parmesan. Serve with the rest of the parmesan on the side.

Serves four as a guilt-inducing main course, or six to eight as a first course.

1 comment:

  1. The link to the fettucine recipe doesn't work. I'd love to see the recipe.